MediQuiz 2011: An Overview

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This was the first and last time me and my mate Parijat got to organize the MediQuiz which has been given a cult status by none other than Dr. Krishnendu Mukherjee, surgeon, and one of my mentors.

This time we had planned it out such that there would be a smattering of different elements to test not just the basic knowledge of Medicine, but also the creative ability. Dr. Mukherjee used to call it collateral thinking – one step ahead of lateral thinking. The various rounds were thus prepared keeping in mind an aspect besides just the pure medical knowledge testing… the basic premise was to have fun.

First let me show you the rounds that we had prepared for the main section of the quiz:

I hope this Google docs to WordPress function works, as I have had severe problems with it on more than one occasion!

Anyways. The principle of the rounds are described more or less in the presentation. We made a slight change in the original quiz. Instead of the Tachycardia round, we had planned a round on clinical images/slides/etc. They were exquisitely designed by Parijat but unfortunately due to the lack of time we had to snip it. Blame our inexperience in MediQuizzing or the time we spent on discussing the nuances of different questions, we hated running into a time warp such that we had to curtail the quiz and cut out a brilliantly made round.

In subsequent posts, I will be posting the different rounds, and will post explanatory answers to them in later posts as well (So expect a spate of MediQuiz posts in September).

However, some observations I made during the quiz were:

  1. 13 (or was it 14?) teams participated, and we had 6 slots in the finals, so we had to administer a screening round to select the 6 best teams. The top team got 12 points out of 25 and the other 5 got 8 points, most of them being the same answers. While this points out the unidimensional nature of the participants’ knowledge, it also means that we had not made too many discriminatory questions. Stuff that helps to stratify teams in proper order.
  2. A team comprising entirely of 3rd years managed to go up to the final rounds and I think that though they ended at the bottom of the heap, they did themselves more than proud by holding their own in certain rounds where we expected them to be washed out. This, along with the bunch of speakers who participated in the Extempore contest earlier in the day really left me impressed. Are the days when the juniors were coaxed, coerced and often, subliminally threatened into participating in academic/public-speaking events in Medical College finally over? It does not hurt to dream!
  3. The quiz was eventually won in the final round, by a team which exploited our generous marking system (which in hindsight, may have been unfair to the other teams) in that particular round. Once again, our inexperience as Mediquizzers was to blame, but then again, this was a fair fight because rules are rules, and there is not much one can do about them.
  4. The quiz was a very low scoring one. But that does not indicate the paucity of the knowledge of the participants. On the contrary, they had answered a lot of the tougher questions which I personally had thought would go unanswered. But the rounds were so designed such that there is no runaway winner (except for the final round, for which I am solely to blame).
  5. With Parijat leaving for the US in some time, I guess this was a last tango for the two of us. Especially since the last time we thought it was the last tango (last year’s Pre-Clinical Quiz in Rhapsody) he was incapacitated by multifactorial issues and I ended up hosting it all by myself. Not half as fun without him around!
  6. I spent about 2 weeks on making up the Collateral round. To be honest that was the only thing I did for the quiz (and in that too Parijat helped liberally). Rest of the rounds were basically made by Parijat almost all by himself and I know there is no need to thank him for this, but I will take this opportunity to express my astonishment at his ability to multitask, and deliver the goods at the same time. Though I have a lot of conflicts of interests when I say this, yet, most of the questions were brilliantly crafted.
  7. Don’t think this post was all about praising Parijat. It is my blog, so it will only be fitting if I blow a bit of my own trumpet ‘ere I call it a day. Although I made only 7 questions for the quiz, it took more than twice the time to make those 7 questions than the rest of the rounds put together (~75 questions). I was very apprehensive about how the people would take that round, because, frankly, it was untested waters even for me. So I was very very nervous. But after the quiz, the warmth with which the participants and the audience showed their appreciation for the round, I was touched. The hours spent poring over case reports and reviews to make sure that the options were correct and viable seemed to work out for the best! Indeed, a great feeling.

OK. Long, ruminative post. Allow the nostalgia to seep in a bit, it is after all, the end of the road for a very special aspect of my friendship with Parijat.

In the subsequent posts I will put up the rounds of the quiz and a brief description of how the round went, followed by another post (possibly a few days later), with the answers of the same…

Read on… the best is yet to come!

Skeptic Oslerphile, Scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases. Interests include: Emerging Infections, Public Health, Antimicrobial Resistance, One Health and Zoonoses, Diarrheal Diseases, Medical Education, Medical History, Open Access, Healthcare Social Media and Health2.0. Opinions are my own!

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